Taking up the TEDx challenge was an eye-opener for students of GRD School of Commerce and International Business

When the curator of TEDxGRD wanted to bring an international flavour to the institution, he could not think of anything better than the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) event. The value addition was, creating awareness on TED and giving the reins of organising TEDx to the students.

Curator K.K. Ramachandran, Director of GRD School of Commerce and International Business, GRD Institute of Management and Dr. G.R. Damodaran College of Science, Coimbatore, knew it was going to be a huge challenge the day he threw the TEDx idea to his students. Most of them had not heard of TED, and it was exactly three weeks to go for the event.

But, that did not deter them from learning it from the rudiments and setting themselves as an example for the theme of TEDxGRD – ‘Learning’.

Tracing the journey, the core group spoke to The Hindu Education Plus about the challenges, worries, and hurdles, which ultimately converted into responsibility, team work, multi-tasking, meeting targets, and last but not the least, learning. And, it was a moment of pride when they succeeded in offering the ‘learning’ to the TEDxGRD participants in a potpourri of information, social awareness, entertainment and show of talent.

The greatest challenge they believe, was conducting the event based on the rules and regulations of TED. Though they had conducted many events earlier, none even came near to TED in terms of following specific guidelines.

The event was divided into three parts — ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’. Based on this division, committees were formed. To make it different and in keeping with the spirit of the age of the organisers, the ‘before’ events included a flash mob in a mall, and a walkathon.

A dedicated website, a page on Facebook that kept giving updates on the speakers, their topics, and much more, received over a thousand hits even before the event. Competitions were conducted to select winners for free passes for attending the event.

On the day of the event, the organising committees were not in the least anxious. “We had rehearsed the whole event one day in advance and we were relaxed.”

While the talks at the event ranged from traditional retailing, entrepreneurship, eradicating poverty to awareness on HIV / AIDS, and cricket, delivered by experts, there was space for student achievers too. There was beat boxing by Vineeth Kumar, a student from Mumbai, while there was a session on the drums by another student M. Akilandaeaswari. GRD’s very own Jayesh Kumar showed his unique way of solving the Rubik’s cube.

An innovative initiative was the ‘At the Lounge’ where students played the media team and shot an interview with each speaker in a lounge setting.

The curiosity that TEDx generated extended itself to parents, relatives and friends of the student organisers so much so that “the impact was manifold” and was confined to the live participants at the event.

Since the students believe that the learning is something significant, they want to prepare a case study and document the whole process to make it a best practice.